2020 was a challenging year to grow grapes in the Barossa. With early summer heat coupled with hundred kilometre per hour winds during flowering meant that either the flowers were effectively burnt off or they simply blew away.
Obviously, the results of this crazy weather meant that yields were substantially down. Across Elderton’s three estate vineyards, we calculate that we were 70% down on a normal harvest.
Luckily however, the grapes that were there were very, very good.
THE TINIEST VINTAGE
Small berries on small bunches which were sparse on each vine meant that the concentration and colour of the resultant wines was off the charts – especially in a vineyard block that is already known absolutely for these traits, like the Helbig 1915 Shiraz is.
We were lucky we had enough wine to fill a single barrel, after pressing the two barrels that we fermented the grapes in.
AN EPIC VINEYARD
Before we talk about the wine though, we should really tell you more about the vineyard it comes from. Planted by the Helbig family in 1915 on the Western Ridge of the Barossa Valley (north of Greenock), this centenarian vineyard was farmed by the Helbigs for 3 generations over 90 years. Many of the Barossa’s best and brightest winemakers had been taking fruit from this vineyard over the past generation until it was purchased by us in 2010.
The small patch of original plantings sits in a natural small valley where rains drain to it from all sides, providing the reason for it managing to survive for one hundred plus years in sandy loam over clay soils. The vineyard is looked after by our viticulturist, Conrad, who ensures that it is loved, tended to by hand and achieves the absolute best that it can achieve.
Jules and Brock did a stellar job getting this wine through to bottle, which is not that easy when there is so little of it.
Production 537 bottles
Winemakers’ comment The wine oozes the dark fruit power we expect from these old vines with a seamless transition into velvety long tannins on the finish.
A limited release of 25 magnums (1.5L)were also bottled. Contact Jodhi at Cellar Door for more information about the magnums.
BEST RELEASE YET
It is the Ashmeads’ feeling that this is the best Fifteen/Helbig to date, and for those lovers of great Barossa Shiraz it is one you should really not miss out on.
Even Nick Stock, who is one of Australia’s most respected wine writers, when trying the wine in barrel last year commented that it should be sold for over $500!
Story from our newsletter, the Elderton Buzz – October 2022 edition